Residents unite to help others
Proving once again to be the rainbow nation and that we truly are all in this together, South Africans of all races, creeds and backgrounds have pulled together to make the next 21 days a little easier for one another.
From politicians to restaurant and shop owners and members of the general public, each one is doing their bit to help complete strangers amid one of the biggest challenges of this decade.
On Tuesday, DA Ward 4 (Walmer/Forest Hill) councillor Tsepo Ndwalaza rallied his friends to buy groceries and other necessities for an elderly woman whose house was ravaged by a fire in Mankanza Street in Walmer township last month.
“After the president’s announcement of the lockdown it crossed my mind that as much as we need to heed the call to stay indoors, there are some people who will be gravely affected by this,” Ndwalaza said.
“I thought of this lady, Zameka Matyhila, who had lost her home, so I organised to go shopping with a couple of my friends and we delivered the goods to her.
“It was really a pleasure to see her smile.
“Despite the doom and gloom, it is always nice to do something positive.”
In Summerstrand, Sean Tappan and Bradley Braithwaite of the Summerstrand Watch Group have introduced a Covid-19 volunteer WhatsApp group where people wanting to help their neighbours can chat about the best way to do it.
As a first step, Tappan has asked the volunteers to get the details of their neighbours and in a chain-like manner ask them to do the same.
The idea is to have a volunteer to take charge of every street and ensure people are doing well while providing help if they need to know how to access any emergency service, are ill or in need of advice.
Tappan said that, if needed, volunteers would help with deliveries for the elderly but a delivery service was not what the volunteers were essentially for and he did not want them to be exposed to illness or to flout the law.
Ready to volunteer with advice and support were a clinical psychologist and a first-aide who was studying nursing.
The street leaders would pass information about shops in the area that were doing deliveries, contacts for emergency plumbing and the like and generally make sure that “neighbourly gestures” were in place.
“[About] 90% [of people] will be OK but 10% will be vulnerable, especially the elderly,” he said.
Patriotic Alliance councillor Marlon Daniels has offered to assist the elderly and those with compromised immune systems in Ward 10 (Gelvan Park and surrounds), where he lives, by doing their grocery shopping.
“I was born and raised in Ward 10 so I understand the dynamics of the area,” he said.
Daniels was in consultation with disaster management to assign him the necessary protective gear so that he could drop off groceries at the homes of those not able to move about.
The only cost to them would be for the groceries.
“Many people don’t seem to understand how real and serious this virus is.
“It can mutate and it will take a long time before we can contain it.
“We therefore need to be sensitive around our communities and if by going out it helps keep larger groups at home, then I am doing my small part.”
He said he would be responsible in his movements and only make use of two stores in his ward.
His services would be available between 9am and 4pm.
“I hope everyone else in their own way will come up with different ways to assist during this time,” Daniels said.
Yesterday, the Habata Boerdery distributed about 4,000kg of fresh fruit and vegetables to old age homes and needy people in Port Elizabeth’s northern areas, while Khoisan leaders helped with the distribution.
Mkonto Mntwini from Habata Farms initiated the donation.
Theatre personality Rose Cowpar will introduce a Facebook page on which she and fellow thespian Robin Williams will read to children.
“I've already had books donated,” Cowpar said, adding that she hoped the page would be up and running by tomorrow.
“We will read stories, play some games and also talk to people about giving drama lessons.
“I was sitting here last night [Wednesday] thinking ‘what to do, what to do?, so this is all very new,” she said.
The newly opened Crave Burger restaurant in Main Road, Walmer, donated a total of 100 burgers to Cheshire Home and the SOS Children’s Village ahead of the shutdown.
Co-owners Jefferson and Allyson Adams said instead of letting the food go to waste, this was their way to give back to the community during this trying time.
ANC regional co-ordinator Luyolo Nqakula said the ANC found the response of the public and various partners and stakeholders in supporting efforts by the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality inspiring.
“Having seen the enthusiasm shown by each of the stakeholders and partners, we wish to convey our highest appreciation of the manner they demonstrate the value they place in this city and its citizens.
“We urge all members of the community and respective institutions to do all within their power to act in unison with all that is implemented in order to control and prevent the spread of the coronavirus,” he said.